CB radio: How to be an American outlaw


Why we prep

Here’s another reason why you – and your friends and family – should prep:

Seattle gun tax fails to generate projected revenue, succeeds in burdening rights

The article linked above ultimately demonstrates one simple concept: If people want something bad enough, they’ll find a way to get it. Armchair liberal academics posing as politicians will always fail to incorporate that concept into their schemes for power.

True Americans are a unique bunch of people, and nothing demonstrates that more than the concept of civil disobedience. Left, right or center, it doesn’t matter, Americans are – when it comes down to their heart and soul – individualists. More than anything else, it’s that underlying core of libertarian/anarchy found in Americans, from leftist agitators to the militia members, which vexes the denizens of the United Government of America. Despite a hundred years of indoctrination, the UGA re-education system hasn’t managed to wipe it out completely.

That spirit is most apparent in the unique way Americans deal with unpopular regulations and laws. They ignore them or work around them. For example, when slavery was still the law of the land, many Americans formed “underground railroads” to take slaves to places of freedom despite federal law. And when the government tried to prosecute those scofflaws, juries often refused to convict them.

We’ve seen this happen over and over in America. Pass a Constitution amendment to prohibit alcohol? Require a nationwide speed limit of 55 miles per hour? Blacklist unacceptable music, books or movies? Require Americans to register or turn in whole groups of “scary” guns? Classify marijuana in the same category as heroin? Tell people they can’t fly an American flag on their own property? Mandate government schools only and bus kids from one neighborhood to another to achieve some kind of ever-changing diversity-derangement standard?

Ultimately, the results are the same. The left usually complains about “unjust” laws by marching in the streets and breaking things that don’t belong to them, while the right goes to work to pay for repairing the things the left breaks.

But both sides also rebel in a more effective manner: they become outlaws. And when enough of them do so, the UGA – reluctantly – modifies the offending law and then tries to take credit for fixing the problem they created in the first place.

Prepping is built on common-law sense and work-arounds.

And that’s one of the reasons we prep.

Last week’s column focused on the radio system called Family Radio Service, often maligned by the amateur radio mavens as being little more than a toy, and certainly not a part of amateur radio.

This week we’ll take a look at another bad boy of the electromagnetic spectrum: the CB (Citizens Band) radio. The development of CB radio as a communication tool is a perfect example of American law-resistance.

Much of the following is summarized from Wikipedia: Back in the 1940s and after a bunch of frequency band adjustments, the FCC created a “Citizen’s Band” by peeling off a section of the 11-meter frequency band (previously the purview of licensed amateur radio enthusiasts). The CB band was envisioned to provide families and businesses a short-range communication system consisting of 23 unique channels (increased to 40 channels in 1977). And for years, that’s just what it was used for.

Is prepping the right thing for to do for Christians? Or should we just be trusting in the Lord? Learn about that balance in “Be Thou Prepared” by Carl Gallups – “Equipping the Church for Persecution and Times of Trouble.”

But in the 1970s when the UGA decided to require states to conform to a federally defined speed limit, long-haul truckers began to use their CBs as a political tool, setting up protest convoys and informing each other of police locations and speed traps, thus allowing these outlaws to ignore the federal speed limits. And since, at their hearts, all Americans (especially the ladies) love outlaws, literally millions of Americans started buying and using CB radios.

CB radio

Until the early 1970s, CB radio use “… required a purchased license ($20 in the early 1970s, reduced to $4 in 1975) and the use of a call sign; however, when the CB craze was at its peak many people ignored this requirement. … Rules on authorized use of CB radio (along with lax enforcement) led to widespread disregard of the regulations. …”

God bless America.

Nowadays, everyone thinks you can legally use a CB radio without a license. But technically, that’s not true. In 1983 the FCC, recognizing it didn’t have the realpolitik means to enforce its CB radio license requirements on – for example – an Iowa county commissioner’s wife (handle: Queen Wildflower) or an 18-year-old living in a van (handle: Karma68), changed its CB requirements to something called “license by rule.”

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This means that you, the potential CB user, even if you didn’t know it and didn’t pay for it, have a license to use a CB radio. It also means the FCC can pull that license and prosecute and fine you if you use that CB in violation of the regulations you didn’t know you were supposed to follow. (A genius idea, and one that I’m sure has been considered by the EPA for the use of the air that we breathe.)

What are some of those regulations concerning CB radios? You can check the official FCC website, but here’s a synopsis of a few:

  • A CB transmitter must be certified by the FCC.
  • Channel 9 is reserved for emergency communications or for traveler assistance.
  • You must, at all times and on all channels, give priority to emergency communications.
  • You cannot talk with another station for more than five minutes continuously.
  • You must wait at least one minute before starting another communication.
  • You may not raise the power output of a CB transmitter.
  • For structures, the highest point of your antenna must not be more than 20 feet above the highest point of the building or tree on which it is mounted, or 60 feet above the ground. There are lower height limits if your antenna structure is located within two miles of an airport.

There are a quite a few other regs out there. I recommend reviewing those at CB Radio Memories.

My personal favorites:

  • If your CB station will be constructed on land of environmental or historical importance (such as a location significant in American history, architecture or culture), you may be required to provide information to comply with Part 1.1305 through 1.1319 of the FCC Rules.
  • You must not use a CB station … to communicate with, or attempt to communicate with, any CB station more than 155.3 miles (250 kilometers) away.

Okay, I’ve run out of space for this week’s column, so next week I’ll explain why CB radio is/is not amateur radio, suggest a few CB radio and antenna acquisition choices, introduce you to the thousands of happy scofflaws who regularly practice long-distance CB communication, and tell you why you should consider owning and using a CB radio if you’re a prepper.

So practice your Americanism this week and ignore a law or two. And get prepared.

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